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Weekends With Alex Witt

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Washington 20, Chuck Hagel 14, John Boehner 13, Sandy 11, Alex Witt 10, Us 9, Hagel 8, New York 8, Obama 7, Boehner 7, Cia 6, Marilyn Monroe 6, America 5, Fbi 5, U.s. 5, Craig Melvin 4, Joe Biden 4, Christie 4, Morris 4, Ben Cardin 3,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt    News  News/Business. New.  

    January 5, 2013
    9:00 - 11:00am PST  

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release a pretty strong statement encouraging congress to act. he also reached out to lawmakers including governor chris christie and governor andrew cuomo, and sort of reiterated and expressed his support for making sure that the sandy relief package got passed, so i expect that we'll see him continue to press congress in these coming weeks. they're going to take it back up on the 15th of this month, alex? >> okay, let's go from there to looking ahead to the debt ceiling debate, kristen. what is the his's strategy to get what it wants out of this deal without getting into another budget showdown? >> well, if you talk to white house officials they believe they have more leverage going into this battle in part because they got republicans to break on the issue of increasing taxes on wealthier americans, that's, of course, what president obama campaigned on and he got that as a part of the fiscal cliff deal. moving forward i think you can expect to see president obama hitting the road, taking his message on the road, traveling
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to different states and making the argument if the debt ceiling isn't increased, the economy will suffer. you hear him say he's not going to negotiate with republicans. what specifically does that mean, we'll have to wait and see because, of course, house speaker john boehner is also taking a very hard line. he has said that he's not going to negotiate with president obama in these one-on-one sessions that we've seen in the past budget battles and he believes he's got leverage with the debt ceiling. but i think the white house will press on whatever package they agree upon to include some new revenues as well as spending cuts, of course, that is the big issue, republicans would like it to all come from spending cuts. so, it's undoubtedly going to be another knockdown, dragdown fight, alex, but it will be interesting to see who is negotiating with whom in the coming rounds of budget battles. >> i take it you are heading back tonight, you'll be back in washington very soon? >> reporter: very soon. not quite tonight, but very soon, yes. i'm coming back. >> enjoy. >> reporter: leaving the sun and the sand. >> i was going to say, enjoy the
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weather as long as you can. all right, my friend, thank you, kristen. >> reporter: thanks, alex. joining me now susan page and politics staff writer for "roll call," shira tuplets, wow, couldn't we all be in honolulu. hello to the both of you susan, i'll begin with you here, the president has said no compromise whatsoever on the debt ceiling but reports say that speaker boehner told fellow republicans he'll use the debt ceiling as leverage for spending cuts. who do you see as having the upper hand when it comes to raising the debt ceiling? >> you know, alex, this reminds me a lot of the government shutdown, the confrontation we had between president clinton and newt gingrich back in 1995 where they were at really loggerheads over spending issues and the government you may remember shut down for a total of 28 days, people forget how long that confrontation went on. what do we see what happened that time, advantaged the president. republicans really took it on the chin. the president had the bully
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pulpit, we see the president, president obama, already trying to make his case in the clip that you showed from his saturday radio address. he's trying to say these are debts we've already incurred and catastrophic consequences if we don't -- we don't -- we aren't seen as a nation that will pay its debts. so, we see that positioning coming out already. i think it's a lot like the fiscal cliff debate where the president has some natural advantages. >> all right, let's talk about republican senator john cornyn of texas who wrote this op-ed in the houston chronicle, who said it may be necessary to shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well-being of our country rather than plod along the path of greece, italy, and spain. a couple of things here, is there a fair analogy to be made wish issues like greece and the financial troubles they have been having and do you think we really would see a government shutdown over this? >> as susan pointed out, it's always a possibility given the
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nation's financial situation and the upcoming deadline, i don't think it's that likely. i think this is more of a bargain chip, an opening foray from very conservative republicans and i'll make a note about senator cornyn as well, hoix t homes the number two senator among republicans but he's also up for re-election in 2014, texas is a very conservative state, there's probably a reason he placed it in "the houston chronicle," obviously that's a concern don his mind. >> some republicans oppose the sandy aid that passed yesterday, at least the first part of it, because they say it should be offset with cuts to other programs, chuck schumer of new york said he fears the much larger installment of aid, that that could get tripped up. is that at all likely? >> yes, i think it is likely. i think there's going to be a big battle -- i just see january, february, and march as being a reprise of the kind of
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hand-to-hand combat we saw over the fiscal cliff, sandy aid is part of it. it benefits new york and new jersey, those are democratic-leaning stapts, the republicans in the house predominantly southern and western and they think this bill, not the aid that the 9ed with $9 billion passed this week, but the additional aid is larded up with projects that help places in alaska and washington, and, yes, i think this will be one of the battles over what do we want to spend money on and how much money do we want to spend. i think it will be a fight. >> shira, do you think it's a fight? do you think it could get tripped up? >> yes, absolutely. i think the conservative republicans have already said they want to get as much pork as they can out of the $51 billion out of the second sandy package that will be voted upon in mid-march -- in mid-january, excuse me. i do think it will be a big battle and conservatives are really going to try to use this maybe as a testing point almost
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to see how many cuts they can get out of the senate. >> you know, can i just ask you, susan, as an observer of how this all runs, why is it that politicians don't anticipate these kinds of problems, like, there's going to be pork here, let's dilute everything and just focus on what's at hand, this is called a sandy bill, why not just put forward money and provisions for those affected by sandy? i mean, why doesn't that ever happen? >> well, because it's politics. and a lot of political people have some projects that they would like to fund. there are not many vehicles to jump on to, to piggyback on to these days because of concern about the debt and the deficits, so when you see something that you can call sandy aid, that sounds pretty appealing to those who have watched the devastation along the coastline from that superstorm, they naturally jump on it. i mean, it's part and parcel of the whole broader battle over
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should we really being austere now because we're worried about the debt and defend set, should we loosen the purse strings because we want to accelerate this recovery. >> it's not like we're going to talk about it and all the details, but anyway, but with regard to chuck hagel the potential nomination for defense secretary, he's name's been all out there. anybody else's names being put forward as a viable candidate? >> not really at this point. obviously chuck hagel's name has been floated for a while and i think if there was going to be serious concern he was not going to complete the confirmation process, his former colleagues would vote against him, the white house would have pulled him back at this point like they did with the secretary state nomination and susan rice there, but i don't think that's -- the white house is thinking that's going to be a problem at this point. there are other candidates who could do the job that the white house could nominate, but right now their money's on chuck hagel. >> okay. my money is always on the two of you. love having you on. "meet the press," mitch mcconnell on the debt ceiling,
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if it's sunday, it's "meet the press," so check your local listings. west coast headlines are next with the scene that may be partly to blame for whooping cough resurgence. and in strategy talk, the rough week for house speaker john boehner, after seeing some defectors, does he still wield the same power, and what does it mean for the debt ceiling fight. [ male announcer ] no matter what city you're playing tomorrow. [ coughs ] ♪ [ male announcer ] you can't let a cold keep you up tonight. vicks nyquil -- powerful nighttime 6-symptom cold & flu relief. ♪
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some headlines making news out on west coast. "the los angeles times" like nbc
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news and other media outlets has the front page story hagel seen as obama's pick for defense. the choice would set up a possible senate confirmation night. "the oregonian" has this story, hispanic pregnancies fall in u.s. as women choose smaller families, they are choosing to have fewer children. the national birthrate is now about half what it was during the baby boom years. "the news tribune" has this headline, whooping cough total in 2012 worst since 1955. that state is among the hardest hit, and one of the reasons for the spike, a vaccine used since the 1990s doesn't last as long as the old one. more than two months after superstorm sandy, the house has passed the first part of a relief package worth almost $10 million -- $10 billion, rather. lawmakers will vote on the rest of the package over the next several weeks but not everyone is satisfied with that. new york democratic congressman gregory meeks said, quote, it is disappointing, disgusting and frustrating that the house
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republican leadership continues to play politics in delaying a vote to fully fund disaster relief, here to talk about that the man himself, congressman meeks, welcome, so glad you're here to talk about this. >> good to be with you. >> your reaction of the first part of the bill being passed, flood insurance funding. >> do you know what, we vote d for it, it was a good thing because next week it would have expired, but we should have done it long time ago. we're only asking for is the same thing that we've done for every other natural disaster that's taken place in this country. >> katrina went much more quickly. >> ten days. >> yeah. >> we're now 71 days away. and the people of new york, new jersey, and connecticut is asking for the same kind of treatment that others of natural -- who have been victized by natural disasters have received. >> are you suggesting, then, that things have devolved so horribly among the tenor and rancor among the members of the house and the senate and capitol hill in general, that contributed to it? >> well, do you know what, we
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had an agreement so that the bill should have passed last tuesday. democrats, republicans working together, you know, i've been working very closely with michael grim and peter king. >> right. >> and governor cuomo, been working with governor christie. we thought we had a deal. and then on tuesday after the fiscal cliff vote, for no reason that was told to ums at any rate, not even to the republican members, they pulled the bill. >> why? why did it happen? i mean, i know you haven't been given a reason, but can you speculate? i have talked just to people here in the newsroom, why didn't john boehner come forth even something as simple as saying we were exhausted from the fight that we had, it was the wee hours of the morning, even giving that kind of explanation while some would say, look, that's not cool, they would at least understand some reason for it. >> i think that maybe some of the reason is the 67 individuals who voted against the basic $9 billion that only dealt with flood insurance, it may be some within the republican party who
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are so mean-spirited that they don't want to move forward to help individuals who happen to be maybe some say because the blue states. they're still playing politics. politics should not be playing a role in the lives of americans. because, guess what, the storm sandy, it hit democrats and republicans. it did not discriminate against anybody. and this is what generally makes us come together. i've never seen the scenario before where we've not come together as a congress to help our american people. until now. >> are there prejudices against the northeast? it has been suggested that, you know, it is a moneyed area of the country, and that maybe those in different parts of the country feel that they don't want to put the money back into this part of the country. i mean, as absurd as that may sound, do you think that's part of it? geographically. >> look, it speaks for itself. because this is a storm we've not had anything like this on the east coast before.
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we've always on the east coast put more than our fair share into the national treasury. more than our fair share of money that goes into the national treasury that goes to some of these regions when there's a natural disaster, we willingly come together to say we're going to support them. this is the first time we've had a storm like this in over 100 years, and so all we're saying is give the people of new york, new jersey, and connecticut the kind of resources they need to rebuild their lives. so many people lost everything and that's why in one of my speeches i talked about and asked the speaker to come walk with me. i wanted him to come walk with me through the rockaways, so he could look at the pain that was on people's faces, to see what they lost and how they've lost just about everything and how that they need the help of their government now to get them back on my feet. so, i asked the speaker to come walk with me -- >> and? >> -- so he could see. well, i've not gotten a reply. >> did you hear shira toeplitz and susan page, my previous guests, they are both gearing up
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of a fight over what remains of the sandy funding, do you feel there will be a fight? >> i said on the house floor yesterday also because i managed the bill for the flood insurance, what we have now is a promissory note. we were told that we would have on january 15th the remaining amount of money, $51 billion. but that's a promissory note. we don't know whether we're going to get that until there's the votes to make that happen. we did know that based upon the prior agreement at the end of the 112th congress that we had the votes. many individuals that were going to vote for it are no longer in the 113th congress. as i said, i admire the work of peter king and michael grimm have on done on the other side of the aisle. they told me that they had the votes irrespective of what the speaker has. >> yeah. >> now i'm concerned the speaker said he has the votes, but we saw his plan "b" before, he said he had the votes and he didn't have the votes, so we got a promissory note now and we're going to see whether or not that promissory note has -- can be
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cashed in or not. >> i'm going to tell you, my producers told me to wrap it, i do have to ask this one question relative to the debt ceiling. given the tenor and the president has no compromise and john boehner said i'm not going to deal one-on-one with the president and i am going to use the dell ceiling as leverage for spending cuts, what do you think? >> well, democracy's tough. and we're going to have the 3ba and the president is going to stay firm. he's indicated to all of us, you know, we've never played politics with the debt ceiling before. people talk about the debt ceiling now. ronald reagan, george bush, both bushes, raised the debt ceiling, bill clinton raised the debt ceiling, that's something we've never played with because then we're playing with the country's credit rating and that's something we should all come together on and we've never had it happen before. why now play politics on the debt ceiling. it doesn't make sense. >> i'll have to leave it retorically, good to see you.
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woman: we're helping joplin, missouri, come back from a devastating tornado. man: and now we're helping the east coast recover from hurricane sandy. we're a leading global insurance company, based right here in america. we've repaid every dollar america lent us. everything, plus a profit of more than $22 billion. for the american people. thank you, america.
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helping people recover and rebuild -- that's what we do. now let's bring on tomorrow. it's time now for a look at what's topping in today's list of number ones. legendary investor warren buffett has the list of largest charitable donations in 2012, his amounts to $3.1 billion in stock given to three foundations run by his children. facebook's mark zuckerberg second with a half billion dollar grant to a silicon valley foundation. and paul allen is third. another plaudit for harvard, and stanford and m.i.t. second and third. david carp aspired to attend m.i.t. but figured he didn't need to go to college or finish high school. carp is the stand-out in
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"forbes" magazine new issue 30 under 30, the social entrepreneurs, he's quite a story. i'm always angry. >> aaa, thanks in part to "the incredible hulk," "the avengers" was top of the pack in 2012 raking in almost $60 million in the u.s. alone. first runner up "the dark knight rises" hauled in $450 million and "the hunger games" third. and for all of you trying to get in shape for the new year, "spectrum" is the top workout song of the year. it sure will get the pumping. bicycled to that one in soul cycle. and those are your number ones. note's ♪ ky had no idea why dawn was gone for so long... ...but he'd wait for her forever, for any reason, and would always be there with the biggest welcome home. for a love this strong, dawn only feeds him iams.
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[ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. mmm... [ male announcer ] sounds good. it's amazing what soup can do. wears off. [ female announcer ] stop searching and start repairing. eucerin professional repair moisturizes while actually repairing very dry skin. the end of trial and error has arrived. try a free sample at eucerinus.com. welcome back to ""weekends with alex witt." at the half 94 nearly some headlines making news for you. new and deadly gun violence
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report in aurora, colorado, today. right now police are on the scene of a home where a standoff with a gunman ended in death. our local affiliate kusa is reporting four people including the gunman were found dead inside the home. a fifth person managed to escape and contact police, so there's no information just yet on the victims or their connection. this is happening in the same town where james holmes allegedly opened fire inside a crowded movie theater in july, 12 people died and nearly 60 were injured. a preliminary court hearing on that case is scheduled for monday. it hasn't been a week since reaching a deal on the fiscal cliff but the next battle in d.c. is already coming to a head. both sides are weighing in today on the debt ceiling. president obama said no compromise. republicans are saying not so fast. joining me now for "strat tegy talk" my guests for today. i'm glad to see you both here. happy new year.
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>> happy new year. >> as we look ahead to the upcoming debt ceiling, republicans are already claiming to have leverage in the debates. let's listen to this first -- >> i think we have to be prepared to go so far as to shut the government down. >> save your powder for the debt ceiling fight. work with me and others never to raise the debt ceiling again unless we address why we're in so much debt. >> i think there's going to be a whole new field of battle when the debt ceiling rolls around. >> our opportunity here is on the debt ceiling. this is where we have leverage. >> so, karen, since this fight's going to be all about the cuts, what's the strategy for democrats to pull some leverage of their own? >> well, look, i think the leverage is in a couple things, number one, that the president has said he's unwilling to let this debt ceiling conversation be a part of the conversation that needs to be -- that needs to happen over cuts and the rest of the sort of fiscal issues. and i think part of it is, i
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mean, look at the polling, i mean, when you start, just purely political negotiating tactic, when you start at defcom five and say we are willing to shut the government down and it's not -- as some of these guys would say, you can't just shut down a little piece over here, a little piece over there, no. i went through it in the clinton administration, when you shut it down, you shut it down and that's a very dramatic step to take and i think saying that right out of the box suggests an unwillingness to have any kind of negotiation which, again, i think strengthens democratsation hands. >> that was almost a month of being shut down in the mid-'90s. yikes. >> it was twice, actually, two shutdowns. >> that's right. that's right. the big one, though, was in '95 i think. >> yeah. >> anyway, tony, what a roller coaster week it was for speaker john boehner. he came out of the fiscal cliff battle with a much lower approval rating than the president. he had only 31%. sure, he retained his speakership but he did get the nine active votes against him by members of his own party. >> yeah. >> where do you think his power
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lies over these next couple years? >> look, the speaker's power lies is the fact that he does have control of that house. i mean, yeah, there were a few votes, you know, that leaked out. some people trying to make a -- trying to make a statement. the test for the speaker really is going to be on some of these battles and whether, you know, when he comes out on the other end, you know, have republicans accomplished something or not. and, you know, it's been -- it's no secret, you were talking about the debt ceiling there for a minute, i'm a long opponent of the debt ceiling. i think anybody who has worked in an administration, you know, opposes the idea of a debt ceiling and congress sees it differently. it's not going to be between john boehner and the president, it will be a negotiation between the house and the senate to be able to come together to deliver a bill to the president. that's why the president is actually in a strong position to say he's not going to negotiate because, you know, two divided of congress are going to have to negotiate with each other to deliver that bill to the president, so that's where the
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negotiation will take place. but if boehner feels like he can accomplish something on the spending cut side in that negotiation, then he'll come out a little bit just fine i think. >> you know, karen, do you think the president's in a stronger position for having his vice president, joe biden, on his team? i mean, look at what he did during the fiscal cliff fight last weekend, do you think he'll be used in the debt ceiling debate? >> absolutely. biden has on a number of occasion really been the key figure in some of these negotiations. although i do want to say i feel like i should just give credit to some of the people, some of the -- at the staff level on both sides, frankly, because as much as i love joe biden, and i do love joe biden, and he made it happen, you know, let's remember that there are a lot of hardworking staff people who sacrificed their holiday to help, you know, get us to this point. and they will never get the credit that they deserve, but, j yeah, biden is a key figure, and so much in the senate is about
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personal relationships and he has long-standing relationships with so many in the senate that are key in the negotiations. >> stand up for staff, karen, whoo-hoo! >> the shuttle diplomacy from different corridors of the hallway. >> yeah. >> they do need a heads-up there. tony, with the president's potential nomination of chuck hagel for defense secretary and it's looking more likely, what does the white house have to do to guarantee his confirmation considering he's already getting resistance from some republicans? >> i think he'll get some resistance to chuck hagel. everybody loves an outspoken, independent cabinet nominee and that's only until they become an outspoken outspoken cabinet member. i'm not sure, the president has to be really careful about what he wants here from a chuck hagel. but hagel is one of those characters in washington and we've seen them over the years that leaves a trail of enemies wherever he goes, right? because he's one of these guys who doesn't want to go along with niceties in, you know,
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whatever job he's in whether it was at the va or on the hill in the senate, he's one of these guys who just seems to manufacture enemies, and so there's some of them that will be there. that said, you know, he has -- you know, he would be one of the first enlisted soldiers to be named -- in fact, the first enlisted soldier to be named -- to head up the pentagon, i think it's a historic thing. i still think he gets through the senate if he is nominated even if there are some republicans who will oppose him. >> you think he'll get through, karen? >> i think he probably will. and, look, i think the politics on this are, particularly if it's republicans opposing a republican, i think outside of the beltway, that is less of a political problem for the president. i think ultimately, while i think some people are disappointed to see -- from a democratic administration where democrats have finally i think surpassed republicans on defense issues and national security issues to feel like we have to
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have a republican in that position. however, i think tactically for the white house having a republican in that position in a time of budget cuts is a very smart political move. >> okay. karen finney, johnny fratto, always good to have you on the show. here's our twitter question of the day. it is -- what should be the top priority for the 113th congress? some of your tweets -- gop led house campaign in 2010 on jobs it would be nice if they actually passed several job bills. immigration, debt ceiling, true government reform. most definitely immigration reform. we have to fix it and when we do the nation and our economy will be stronger. and debt ceiling and jobs, and 113th's priority, first do no harm! then substantial sandy relief and debt ceiling. thanks for sending your messages. you can all tweet me anytime. in today's "office politics" my conversation with "today" show's al roker, we discuss
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climate change and whether the violent swings in weather patterns are the new normal, but first i asked him about his roots as a weathercaster and the person that gave him the best advice when he got into the business. >> my mentor was willard scott. could not, would not be doing what i am doing today if it were not for him. i first met him in washington, d.c., when i worked at the local fox station, it was metro media. he was at wrc and he basically took me under his wing. and i have been the beneficiary of his largesse ever since. >> yeah. he's a wonderful guy. and he i think you've carried on in that tradition in his spirit as well. you guys are fun to watch. >> the best personal professional bit of advice i ever got was from willard and it was two pieces of advice. one, always be yourself. you know, because that's all you got. and, two, never give up your day job, you know, because you can do other things, you know, but, you know, kind of the "today" show's your base.
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and it was a terrific base to have. >> yeah. but after 17 years and you probably get this question a lot, the moments that stand out for you? >> i really do think it's the team, you know? it's this group of people who i think are pretty good on our own, each one of us individually, but i think together it's just i think it's one of the best working environments i've ever had. you know, you are working with really great people. and i think i can say this pretty safely, throughout the years, you know, for the most part a pretty selfless group of people, the old saying there's no "i" in "team." this is a group of folks who really do put the team ahead of themselves. and that's what makes the difference. >> i want to ask you about global warming. and all of those naysayers, which, i mean, the number of naysayers is reducing. >> well, look, first of all, i don't know, i don't have a degree in meteorology, so i don't, i've got an amsc seal of
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approval. i prefer the term climate change because i think what we're going to be looking at not so much -- although the earth global temperature is rising, i think what we're really looking at are these vast, violent swings in weather from flooding to drought, from extreme cold to extreme warmth, you know. and, you know, a storm like sandy comes along, that's not normal. that is an aberration. and so you can argue maybe what's causing it, but you can't argue that something's happening. you know, if you want to say, well, this is a natural occurrence, well, not really. but i'll give you that, you know, but the fact is, what do we do about it. and, you know, there are a whole host of real -- real-world ramifications, you know, do we rebuild where sandy ravaged. and if this is going to be the
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new normal, you know, what changes do we have to make in where we live and where we play and where do we -- you know, how do we -- how do we storm-proof our infrastructure. our national grid is woefully inadequate. >> yeah. >> you know, there's a lot going on, and, you know, will we be able to withstand it. >> you see so much, though, devastation, al, how many times have we all seen hurricane sandy, with floods, with tornadoes. i mean, what's that like when you get up and you go to a scene like that? >> you have to really -- it's a balance because from a meteorological standpoint it's very exciting, you know, these are, you know, big events. >> yeah. >> but these are big events that affect a lot of people. in big and little ways, but you add it up, and people's lives can be lost. their homes, their livelihoods. in an instant, you know, so, you
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know, but, you know, when you look at the devastation from a sandy, and it's funny, because you're in the middle of it, you don't really -- you know what you're seeing. >> right. >> it wasn't really until a couple of days because wherever we were, we had no power, so we couldn't see what was going on. and then you kind of, you know, stood back and looked at the devastation in total, and it was just mind-boggling. >> tomorrow at this time, al's going to talk about his new book "never going back" which chronicles his struggle and success dealing with his weight, plus how he manages to keep on reporting when he's out there in the middle of all those nasty storms. to number three on the first five web stories, all is clear following a tsunami warning for alaska and canada, it began when a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck overnight. and it sparked the warning and it created small waves in sitka and port alexander. the warning was cansed and no
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reports of injuries or damage. when a twinge of back pain surprises him. morning starts in high spirits, but there's a growing pain in his lower back. as lines grow longer, his pain continues to linger. but after a long day of helping others, he gets some helpful advice. just two aleve have the strength to keep back pain away all day. today, jason chose aleve. just two pills for all day pain relief. try aleve d for strong, all day long sinus and headache relief.
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the first of two relief bills to help superstorm sandy victims is on the president's desk and waiting for his signature. congress passed the $9 billion measure yesterday but only after northeast leaders ripped into john boehner for not bringing the entire bill up earlier this week. chief among those outraged new jersey governor chris christie. >> that's why people hate washington, d.c.? that's why they hate this politics. last night it was my party responsible. both parties could take plenty of responsibility over time, but last night my party was responsible for this. >> christie throwing caution to the wind ripping his own party. denver's democratic mayor michael hancock also goes against the grain to get things done as noted in a "denver post" profile. good day, mr. mayor, and happy
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to have you. >> happy new year, good to have you -- be with you, actually. >> thank you, thank you. i want to get your reaction to all the political rancor in the last couple weeks in washington over the fiscal cliff and the sandy bill. just give me your gut check on that. >> well, you know, one of the things as an elected leader i always try to remember, who do i represent, who sent me where i am today and what have they asked me to do. i think at times that gets lost in washington. as a matter of fact, i know it gets lost in washington. so, i agree with governor christie, it's been very unfortunate and very disappointing to see that our members of congress have forgotten who sent them to washington and the job we've asked them to do. >> all right. any comparison of you to governor christie probably ends when it comes to your style. in "the denver post" piece, you are called a workhorse and not a show horse, saying it is a quiet leadership, it's not front-page, headline-grabbing leadership. is that by design? >> you know, simply it's my style. my style is simply, you know, go lead.
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i took on a very sacred job for the people of denver. they've asked me to go and to lead this city. we have a great deal of tradition, of proud mayors who work hard for the people who sent them to city hall. i've had the fortune of being around a lot of those mayors, and it's really about the people who elected me to go serve and that's why i'm there. and so in the midst of all of this, the chaos and partisanship that often happens, i must never forget i'm there to lead and make decisions on behalf of the people of denver, and i'm proud to do that. >> and clearly you're good at it, because you had your own fiscal cliff going on in the mile high city and you managed to get voters to approve a new property tax in november. how did you do that? >> i simply believe you give people good information, they'll make good decisions. and that's what we set out to do. we had a great case. we understood that there was a straight line between our challenges and our solutions. and if we went and talked to the people of denver, they would make good decisions, and i trusted the people of denver, and that's what it boiled down
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to -- stay on message, talk about the challenges, talk about the solutions and be honest with them about what might happen if we don't pass it, but also what the opportunities lie ahead if we do pass it, and the people of denver agreed with us and agreed 74%. >> you have a refreshing approach. may i ask you quickly how the broncos will fare in the nfl play-offs, bengals, houston, colts, ravens, where is your money? >> let me just say, we're not at all optimistic about the broncos here in denver. listen, we take one game at a time. one game at a time in this great city, so we'll watch every nfl game this weekend and we're going to root on our broncos come next weekend. and we -- although we're optimistic we're going to be in new orleans, we'll take one game at a time. >> okay. i'm glad i asked that question last. i think we could have gone on and on had we started with that one. mayor hancock, thank you for being with us and go broncos. lance armstrong and what we may be considering to admit so he can resume his athletic
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career. we have a new report on "weekends with alex witt." we'll do almost anything. out for drinks, eats. i have very well fitting dentures. i like to eat a lot of fruits. love them all. the seal i get with the super poligrip free keeps the seeds from getting up underneath. even well-fitting dentures let in food particles. super poligrip is zinc free. with just a few dabs, it's clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. a lot of things going on in my life and the last thing i want to be thinking about is my dentures. [ charlie ] try zinc free super poligrip.
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the missing fbi files on marilyn monroe have been found and made public and they reveal shocking new details about her final days. the feds monitored the legendary actress for suspected ties to communists. the documents reveal concerns among the people closest to her. a.p. reporter anthony mccartney joins me live from los angeles he's the one that broke the news after requesting those documents be released. anthony, welcome. >> thank you for having me. >> so, the fascination continues. i want to ask you what motivated you to get the documents and how did you do it, and weren't they heavily redacted and even missing at one time? >> yeah. we actually got a question from a reader about a year ago and we started the process of trying to get some of these redactions taken away. we appealed many of the redactions through the freedom of information act, and like i said, it took about a year to
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get these files actually released to us with, i mean, dozens of those black marks removed from them. >> okay. so, you've read through them, why did the feds begin monitoring monroe? >> well, like a lot of celebrities, the fbi of that era was monitoring celebrities for possible ties to communism. marilyn monroe had been married to arthur miller, somebody else that they were monitoring. he was a playwright. they were looking for any ties to communism. they thought that they needed to keep an eye on her, they tracked her movements and travels to a certain extent. >> yeah. you know, there was an anonymous tipster that told a new york paper that money from the marilyn monroe productions was finding its way into the communist party. this source said that marilyn monroe productions was filled with communists. did investigators ever find proof that monroe or any of her associates were communists? >> they didn't. it looked like they had talked to a lot of people, they talked to a lot of sources close to her
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and they concluded while she had leftist views, they never found any direct evidence that she was a communist. >> and you mentioned that at the time people were being, you know, looked at for possible communistic sighs, this was arou around the joseph mccarthy days? >> the files went up to a few months before her death, focused on a trip she took to mexico in early 1962, so, yeah, this is a little bit after the mccarthy era, but still a lot of concerns about communism. and whether celebrities and hollywood stars had ties to it. >> did these documents reveal anything new about her death? >> not really. all the stuff that the bureau had received previously, and these were letters and news clippings, they were questioning how she died, had already been unsealed. there was no indication in the new files that the fbi ever participated in any of the investigation about her death. >> what other questions are left
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unanswered about marilyn monroe? >> you know, i think some people still have questions about, you know, the investigation, the quality of it. it's important to note that the los angeles district attorney's office 20 years after her death took a look at the investigation and concluded that there was no evidence that a homicide had occurred, and that finding of a probable suicide was likely accurate. >> and yet i'm looking at your article, and thomas negucci, the l.a. coroner, he said, we may never know exactly the details about her death, right? i mean, is that why people are still fascinated? >> i certainly think so. and certainly -- and when it was written and even when the d.a.'s report back in 1982 was written, there was a lot of interest in what was in these fbi files, fbi -- the d.a.'s report mentioned how they were heavily censored, and i think people were kind of hoping that they might reveal some more details,
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you know, that would, you know, close the book or get some new threads. they talk -- they kind of show what was the surveillance that was happening, what was going on in her life, who around her, you know, was causing concern. but they don't really reveal anything more about the investigation. >> okay. well, the a.p.'s anthony m mccartney, thank you for bringing us the latest. the likely nominee for defense secretary, wchuck hagel. morning starts in high spirits, but there's a growing pain in his lower back. as lines grow longer, his pain continues to linger. but after a long day of helping others, he gets some helpful advice. just two aleve have the strength to keep back pain away all day. today, jason chose aleve. just two pills for all day pain relief. try aleve d for strong, all day long sinus and headache relief.
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it in an orderly way rather than what we've seen in recent years. but the chances of that seem to be slim. also new today, president obama in his weekly address reiterating his position of no compromise on the debt ceiling. >> if congress refuses to give the united states the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic. last time congress threatened this course of action, our entire economy suffered for it. our families and our businesses cannot afford that dangerous game again. >> congress did pass a hurricane sandy relief bill friday that provides $9.7 billion to the national flood insurance program. members from both parties criticized republican leadership earlier this week after congress ended its term tuesday without voting on the aid. the house is set next to vote on additional sandy aid worth nearly $52 billion on january 15th. the senate is in recess until the 21st. joining me now political reporter for "the washington
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post," and national political reporter for "the atlantic," molly ball. hello, ladies, good to see you both. >> hi, alex. >> former republican senator who will likely be nominated for defense secretary next week according to our own chuck todd, why hagel? why not a democrat? >> well, that's certainly a question a lot of democrats, liberals and progressives will be asking themselves, but in truth if you look back over the years going back to truman, democratic presidents have tended to nominate republicans for this seat. every democratic president has done that going back to truman except for carter and, of course, we saw obama do that with keeping gates in that seat initially. then, of course, he looks like he is set to do the same thing and nominating hagel. there is going to be some pushback not only against democrats who i think are nervous about this implicit sort of suggestions that republicans do it better when it comes to national security issues and i think you'll also have some republican pushback. you've already had three
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republican senators come out and say that they could not support a hagel nomination, so you're going to have a situation where obama on the one hand wants to look bipartisan and he's going to draw the ire i think of folks from both sides of the aisle. >> do you see hagel as being able to get through the nominating process, and what is the major beef against him? >> well, republicans have a few complaints. i think as nia said, obama's getting sort of the worst of both worlds here if he thought he would get the best of both worlds with republicans liking one of their own and democrats liking the nominee, it is exactly the opposite. there's been some questioning on his views on israel and his comments he's made and his comments on gay rights, he's apologized for some slurs he used in the past. those are the two majors. and also on policy, republicans think hagel has had a more moderate, more anti-war stance in the past, republicans are not sure where he stands on the kinds of aggressive national security policies that they favor and that, of course, is of
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immediate interest in a secretary of defense candidate. >> yeah, sure. we're going to switch gears here with you, mallika, john boehner was renominated for speaker of the house. he was sharply criticized by republicans to failing to pass the sandy relief legislation earlier in the week and he was sidelined in the negotiations to resolve the fiscal cliff. going forward does speaker boehner wield the same power that he once had? >> well, i don't think he -- he's certainly not as powerful as he once was going back when he was first nominated speaker. he rode the wave of tea party support and got the gavel. you have i think a weakened speaker going in. folks to his right want more representation for red states from the leadership. you have in the form i think of representative cantor a real frenemy that's in the leadership position there, next to boehner. so, you know, the image of herding cats comes to mind when
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i think of the job boehner has. it's almost a leadership position not many people want. he's going into this job now saying he's not going to negotiate one-on-one with this president, almost something of an admission that he isn't of the same stature in terms of negotiating with this president, and we'll see if he sort of nominates or des dignates someo else to do that, but it is in some i was a weakened position going in. >> molly, let's take a listen to the speaker after re-elected as house speaker. here's a line from him -- >> we're sent here not to be something but to do something. >> and, look, the 112th congress was dubbed the do-nothing congress because it was one of the least productive ever. do you think the 113th congress is going to be able to get anything done? >> i have to disagree here, i don't think john boehner could get any weaker than he already was. the vote that almost cost him the speakership was a symptom of that and now he has a decision
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to make. is he willing to put bills on the floor that can't pass with only republican votes, and say to his caucus, if you guys aren't going to support me, i'm going to go across the hall and get democrats to vote for things so we can get things done, so we can get legislation through that's been negotiated on a bipartisan basis, whether that's the way the fiscal cliff got done with senator mcconnell and vice president biden or with some other combination of bipartisan negotiating. >> molly, though, wouldn't that in some ways make him more powerful? i mean, really, is there anybody who can put together as nia-mallika said and she's quoting from john boehner the herding cats in the republican party? it seems an almost unenviable task right now. >> that's why he stayed speaker, because nobody else wanted the job. the votes against him were clearly protest votes. they weren't votes all for a single alternative. there was nobody else that stepped up. it's a terrible job to have
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right now given the chaotic and divided state of the republican majority in the house and i think you're correct to say that boehner would be in a stronger position if he decided to take a more aggressive stance toward his own members. >> may i go quick with you, on the incredible makeup of this new congress. it is remarkable as it includes 101 women, 43 african-americans, 31 latinos, and seven asian americans and lgbt members. how will il mpact immigration e refo reform, for example? >> i think when you look at an issue like immigration they are certainly going to be looking at this congress as really a reflection of where the country is, a much more diverse country on an issue like immigration republicans suffered badly in this last election because they couldn't really get the backing of many latinos so i think this could be a real opportunity on immigration reform for some
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bipartisan cooperation and then, of course, there's some otherish issues, gun control, i don't think that's necessarily going to go anywhere because i think you still have great divisions within this country and the parties about pushing that forward. >> really? boy, i tell you just a month after sandy hook, not even, that's pretty incredible because right on the heels of that, boy, we sure seemed to have a united voice across the country, but we'll see how it plays out. good to see you both. we remind all of you on nbc mitch mcconnell will be david gregory's guest on "meet the press." check your local listings for the airtime. developing now, police are on the scene of another deadly shooting in aurora colorado, our local affiliate kusa is reporting the standoff left the gunman and three others dead. police say it began overnight when the gunman barricaded himself inside a suburban home. a fifth person managed to escape
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by jumping out a second-floor window and then contacted police. right now there is no word on theidentities or relationship to the gunman. but today's scene is 5 1/2 miles away from the stenltury movie theater where gunman james holmes shot and killed people and injured 60 others. he faces a preliminary hearing this week. lance armstrong may be coming clean. a new report says he's considering to admitting to doping allegations. it certainly cost him his tour de france titles and going to the olympics. michelle franzen is here with the very latest. this is most interesting. good day to you. >> hi, electi wrs, alex. he's inspired others with his competitive spirit and perseverance, he's faced and long denied he was part of a doping scandal, but "the new york times" is reporting armstrong may be weighing his options on whether or not to make a stunning admission. >> reporter: lance armstrong is used to competing and winning.
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but since faced with dogged allegations and evidence of drug use by the u.s. anti-doping association, the cycling champion has found himself backpedali backpedaling. armstrong was tripped of his seven dure tour de france title nike, anheuser-busch, and trek bicycles dropped him. >> i've been better, but i've also been worse. >> and in october he told the crowd at the 15th an versery of livestrong the cancer survivor charity, he founded, he was stepping down as chairman. >> it's been an interesting couple of weeks. it's been a difficult couple of weeks for me, for my family, for my friends, for this foundation. >> reporter: difficult, but all along armstrong denied the doping charges, but now according to the "new york times" armstrong may be interested in talks with anti-doping officials including world anti-doping agency
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director-general david howman, the article said armstrong is considering admitting publicly he used banned performance-enhancing drug x throughout his career. armstrong's attorney tim herman couldn't confirm any talks had taken place. in a statement to nbc news herman said there are no ongoing discussions with usada and no contact with mr. howman as reported in "the new york times." that is the extent of any comment at this time. according to "the new york times," armstrong discussed the possibility of an admission. in the hopes of being allowed to compete again. but there could also be fallout. armstrong could face further punishment from the body that certifies athletes for competition, a federal criminal investigation was dropped last year, but armstrong still faces several other investigations, including a case filed by former teammate floyd landis. the legal hurdles he faces are a big factor in his next step as he considers this and the investigations into possible wrongdoing could further impact
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both his career, alex, and his brand. >> interesting turnaround, though. thank you very much michelle franzen. the fiscal cliff fight was ugly, but will the debt ceiling struggle be even uglier? in a moment democratic senator ben cardin weighs what could be ahead at the capitol. you're watching "weekends with alex witt." the truth about mascara is... it clumps. introducing a revolutionary new mascara. clump crusher...crusher. 200% more volume. zero clumps. new clump crusher from easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl.
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more than 16$16.4 trillion d rising the latest figure on the national debt and the congressional budget office report says the debt will grow by an average of more than $900 billion a year over the next decade if congress does not cut
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spending because of tax hikes, the fiscal cliff agreement, however, did cut $700 billion to $800 billion off the deficit over the next ten years. joining me is ben cardin, democrat from maryland. good to see you, happy new year. >> good to see you. >> let's talk about what we'll be headed for. is it another eleventh hour and 59-minute fight, as a colleague of yours, congressman yarmuth said that earlier to me today. he said i suspect we are headed for that essentially extortion that's what they've been trying to do to use the debt ceiling or any leverage they have to strip the social safety net in this country. do you agree with him? >> i hope we've learned our lesson and we do not take our economy to the brink, with self-inflicted wounds. the fiscal cliff taught us that if we work together, democrats and republicans, we can get some good things done. we now have permanent tax relief for middle income families,
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we've established the 39.6% high rate for those that make the most income, so we got some good things done, but it's because democrats, republicans worked together. we certainly don't want to take this again to the eleventh hour. we want to get to work immediately. the debt is a serious issue dealing with our deficit, we have to do that, as the president said, in a balanced way. reducing spending, but also we need revenues. >> on wednesday's "morning joe" pat toomey left little doubt where he thinks the debt ceiling fight is headed. let's listen to that. >> our opportunity is on the debt ceiling. the president's made it very clear, he doesn't even want to have a discussion about it because he knows this is where we have leverage. we republicans need to be willing to tolerate a temporary partial government shutdown which is what that could mean, and insist that we get off the road to greece. >> senator, a couple of points here, do republicans have leverage? and what do you make of a potential government shutdown? is that likely?
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>> well, the debt ceiling really should not be the debate. we've already spent this money. we have a responsibility to pay our bills. if we get too close to that deadline on paying our bills, it hurts our country. these are self-inflicted wounds. we've already accomplished a lot in deficit reduction. we've reduced domestic discretionary spending, we've got some additional revenues. we've got to continue to work together democrats and republicans. but we shouldn't threaten the strength of america in doing that. we should -- we should work together, let our committees work. yes, let's bring down the cost of health care which can save us medicare dollars, let us look at the tax code to see whether we can't get some additional revenues by closing the loopholes and dealing with the deductions and exemptions at the high income levels. we can get some savings there and continue to bring down the deficit, but don't threaten our economy. don't threaten america's reputation. because all that does is hurt ourselves. >> sure. but republicans, do you see them, sir, as having any
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leverage? do you think democrats have to give on the spending side? >> the president's made it clear he's not going to negotiate on the debt ceiling. the debt ceiling is an obligation of our country. should we negotiate in good faith to bring down the debt? absolutely. we're prepared to do it. but we're not going to be held up on the debt ceiling. >> may i switch gears here and talk about the house which on friday voted to pass that first part of the hurricane sandy disaster relief package. are you confident that the majority of what is being required and requested at least by these, you know, beleaguered communities, the rest of this package will be passed? >> no, i'm not confident yet because we saw the problems that took place on the end of the 112th congress. in the senate, democrats, republicans came together. we passed a $30 billion relief package, recognizing that when we go through that type of an emergency situation, we respond. we don't act as democrats or republicans. and for hurricane sandy, it's important that we give the relief that's needed to those
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communities. it's $30 billion the president requested, it was passed by the united states senate. i hope the house will do the right thing. but, no, i'm not confident at this stage that they will pass us a bill that, in fact, provides the relief that we should to the communities that were affected. >> well, we'll keep a close eye, january 15th is when it's supposed to go to the house floor. we'll see what happens. thank you very much, senator ben cardin from maryland, nice to see you. the big three money headlines, going, going, geithner, what will it mean to the markets and your money? and supersex appeal, are racy still in the big game ads? you're watching "weekends with alex witt." well we suddenly noticed that everything was getting more expensive so we switched to the bargain detergent but i found myself using three times more than you're supposed to and the clothes still weren't as clean as with tide. so we're back to tide. they're cuter in clean clothes. thanks honey yeah you suck at folding [ laughs ] [ female announcer ] one cap of tide gives you more cleaning power than 6 caps of the bargain brand. [ woman ] that's my tide, what's yours?
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this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. [ slap! ] [ male announcer ] your favorite foods fighting you? fight back fast with tums. calcium-rich tums starts working so fast you'll forget you had heartburn. ♪ tum tum tum tum tums now to our money headlines. slow and steady, geithner going and super sales. joining me now "forbes" staff writer morgan brennan and with a welcome back. let's talk about yesterday's job report. that shows u.s. employers added 155,000 jobs in december, do you think all the washington wrangling over the upcoming debt
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ceiling and deficit talks could impact this job growth? >> i think that's a great question. surprisingly it didn't impact the december numbers nearly as much as i think some analysts suspected it might. the numbers for december were actually just in line with the monthly average that we saw throughout 2012. i found that kind of surprising. that said i don't think we'll see any major job surges this year. i think we'll see more of this slow and steady sort of tepid 150,000 average. moving forward i think the biggest issue will be whether the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations, what comes out of that with the automatic spending cuts, because we could see a lot of jobs shed in march especially with government depending on what happens there. >> this week news broke that treasury secretary tim geithner is going to leave possibly by the end of the month, which means ahead of all of the debt ceiling talks. do you think that would hurt the economy if he's not there to be the one to help sort of, i don't know, keep everything on balance? >> i do worry a little bit about
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this. there's no clear person who would have been named if he's leaving at the end of the month. the name tossed around most commonly is jack lew. but he's not a clear candidate yet at least. secretary geithner has been very instrumental in talking to the congress for the last couple years about the budget and about the debt ceiling. he was very involved in 2011. he's obviously been very involved the last couple of months. if he leaves, i think we could -- it really depends who takes over for him. but i think we're -- i think we're looking at a lot of big issues to face before march and so it's really going to come down to who that person is that takes over. >> yeah, certainly. have to talk a little bit of football because we always talk about the commercials and the super bowl and how much money they bring in. there are reports that it might have the ad sales looking a little less hot, sexy, if you will, this year.
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are you hearing anything about that? and if so, what's behind it? >> about ad sales? >> yeah. well, no. about the content of them. i mean, remember all the talk about how sexy they are and, look it, i mean, they are painting on naked bodies here and you have, you know, all that. i mean, is there anything to say about the tenor of these sales is changing? >> it certainly seems like it. i also think skin tends to sell. unfortunately i don't know too much about it at this point. >> well, okay, we're going to see them if there's any more to learn. i think that was the video that we were showing there. okay, morgan brennan, thank you so much. >> thank you. a congressman that quit more than 30 years ago, all fed up with washington. but guess what? he's back! we'll see it coming up on "weekends with alex witt." [ man ] visa prepaid opened a new world for me. ♪ i have direct deposit on my visa prepaid. my paycheck is loaded right on my card. automatic.
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putting out really good music today. welcome back, everyone, to "weekends with alex witt" as we approach half past the hour. it is time now for a look at some of the day's other stories. this is our "fast five headlines fheadlines ." a gun show near newtown, connecticut, will go on this weekend. but four others have been canceled in the wake of the attack at sandy hook elementary. in florida authorities are trying to decide what crashed a small plane to crash. it went down, and all three people on board were killed. the homeowner escaped unharmed. in chicago a convicted bank robber that escaped from jail almost three weeks ago have been recaptured. he and a fellow inmate took off after descending 20 stories using bedsheets as a rope. a pilot for american eagle airline is now under suspension after he was arrested for
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allegedly being drunk in the cockpit. scary, right? officers and tsa agents noticed the smell of alcohol when they passed him in the airport yesterday. he was arrested while conducting preflight checks. and a passenger aboard a transatlantic flight to new york wound up being restrained and duct taped by passengers and crew when he became unruly. look at that. there was a claim that the man got drunk and grabbed women sitting next to him and elypg the plane was going to crash. he was finally subdued when he tried to choke another passenger. after landing in new york he was taken to the hospital and not charged, though. and those of your "fast five headlines." we're getting a new read on what americans think of the fiscal cliff deal hammered out earlier this week. according to gallup, 43% approve. and the self-described conservative tos 28% approve and
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62% disapprove. among liberals the numbers are flipped. and in terms of how president obama handled the talks, frek% approve, 48% disapprove. and then 31% approve of house speaker boehner handled the deal. 50% disapprove. of course, there may have been even bigger fights ahead in 2013 and there's a new congress to battle it all out, with lawmakers swearing in this week. one new member is democratic congressman rick nolan from minnesota, he's back in washington after a 30-year break from national politics. he last served in the 96th congress from 1979 to '80. at the time he told "the washington post," quote, congress is relatively impotent to make the changes the country needs. with that in mind, check this out, that congress passed 613 bills into law. the most recent congress, 112th, got 219 bills into law. that is the lowest tally on record. so it begs bringing back congressman nolan who joins me
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now. welcome, sir, glad to have you. >> thank you. delighted to be here today. >> before we find out how you feel about what's going on in congress, what have you been doing since you left? why did you decide to return? >> well, i spent 32 years in business, domestic and international business, volunteer, community service, raising family back in minnesota, and did all this generation, this country's been so good to my generation, and i just felt compelled to step up, you know, the deficits, the wars of choice, the joblessness, the growing inequalities, they're not sustainable. they represent a real serious threat to our nation's future. and like i said, this country's been so good to my generation, i think we all need to step up to do what we can and try to make a difference and get the country back on track then. >> how discouraged are you, then, or maybe invigorated at the fights ahead, you look at the numbers, the bills passed when you were last in congress, what, 613, compared to 219 in the past couple of years?
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you said that congress was unable to make the changes the country needs before. what about now, even harder? >> well, it's -- you know, when i last served, we worked 48 out of 52 weeks of the year, and most of those were four- and five-day weeks. and this congress, this past congress, and the current one, only going to work 32 out of 52 weeks, and most of those are just two- or three-day weeks. the congress really needs to go back to work. you hear the saying that the problem with the country's everybody campaigning and raising money and nobody's governing, it is literally true. but i got to tell you, i'm optimistic. i think this resolution on the fiscal cliff hopefully is the beginning of the end of gridlock. it was a compromise. nobody was happy with it, which indicates that maybe it was probably a good compromise. everybody got something. everybody lost something. there was bipartisan collaboration, cooperation, and that's how this country has
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worked when it's worked well, and that's where it needs to go again to get the country back on track. >> i like what you said about the compromise, nobody's particularly happy. everybody gets a little something, everyone loses a little something. that's another veteran politician has described it the exact same way. but in the final gallup poll before the 1980 election, congress had a 25% approval rating in the final -- in the final poll, rather, before the 2012 election, a 21% approval rating. do you think congress is just one of those institutions that americans love to hate? is that going to ever change? >> well, you know, there are times when the congress does better than others. and it's recognized by people and in the polls, but, you know, the fact is, the congress really has been very, very impotent in recent years. and, you know, it started really i think back in the early '90s when newt gingrich made the statement that you don't win elections and you don't gain political capital by
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compromising. you succeed by confrontation. and do you know what, he was right, and that's how people started winning elections. but after a decade or two of that, people come to the realization, you might be able to win elections that way, but you can't govern a country that way. and i think the message in the last election, and i've talked with a lot of new members, both republicans and democrats, and the message is people in this country want to see us collaborating, working together, compromising. >> how possible do you think that is? if you look at what was happening in your era, president reagan coming into office, a lot of talk these days about the working relationship he had with house er tip o'neil. do you think part of that is possible now? >> now and then, as i said earlier, the congress was working five days a week. you got to know one another. you got to develop some respect
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for one another. you got to learn where the areas of opportunity were for compromise, and every bit -- piece of legislation that got done, we were in the majority at the time, but anytime any member passed a piece of legislation, they always had a republican partner in the deal. and if the committees aren't working, if the congress isn't working, if they're not getting to know one another, there's just no opportunity to get to know one another and to learn where those areas of opportunity are. so, for one thing, the congress has to go back to work four and five days a week like everybody else does in this country. >> may i just ask you quickly what the reaction was from your friends, family, loved ones, when you said, you know, i think i'm going to run for congress again? >> well, you know, i kind of backed into it. i was trying to persuade other candidates, state representatives, mayors to run. i suppose some might argue that they were smarter than i am because they declined and at some point they turned on me and said, well, you run. and, you know, i said i'd
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consider it, convinced that if it got to be serious, my friends would do an intervention, but as it turned out, they all encouraged me. and so here i am. and i couldn't be more pleased. i feel better prepared today than at any point in my life to be here and to be fully engaged and to make a difference. i'm thrilled. i couldn't be more excited. >> do you know what, i'm really glad you're in congress. we're going to watch you. i think you'll be a voice of reason, so don't let us down. >> thank you very much, alex. >> newly re-elected and one of the guys, representative nolan from wisconsin. thank you. "zero dark 30" profiles the hunt for osama bin laden but did the cia mislead the filmmakers? senators on capitol hill want answers. >> 60% probability he's there. >> let's say it's a soft 60, sir. >> reporter: the hollywood
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blockbuster "zero dark 30" an oscar contender is reportedly based on first hand accounts on the raid that killed osama bin laden. >> i'm not your friend. i'm not going to help you. i'm going to break you. >> reporter: scenes of harsh interrogations seemed to yield a breakthrough. ultimately leading to bin laden's hideout in pakistan, but that narrative is being sharply questioned by u.s. senators. >> they make it appear as if this brutal interrogation techniques obtained useful information. the fact is, they didn't. >> reporter: in just-released letters mccain and senate intelligence chair dianne feinstein along with armed services chair carl levin charge the cia may have misled the filmmakers about what really happened, and they want acting director mike morrell to set the record straight. he's on president obama's short list to replace general petraeus at the cia released this statement, the film creates the strong impression that the
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enhanced interrogation techniques were the key to finding bin laden. that impression is false. but then he added, some intel came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well. while nobody disputes there were many sources tapped in the ten-year hunt for bin laden, the senators say a recently concluded and still classified investigation by the senate intelligence committee found that aggressive tactics such as waterboarding played no role at all in finding him. >> the leadership at the cia should make very, very clear, none of this ambiguous language about we'll never know, we know. >> action. >> reporter: the cia which declined further comment about its tactics, cooperating with the makers of "zero dark 30" arranging meetings with top agency officials, even turning over the floor plan of bin laden's compound. >> we know they met with morrell and people with the counterterrorism center. >> three, four, five. >> reporter: now the senators want to see everything the cia provided the filmmakers, making
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it likely the accuracy of "zero dark 30" could well become a confirmation issue if morrell is nominated to run the cia, michael isikoff, nbc news. let's check in with craig melvin to see what he has coming up in 20 minutes. hey to you. >> hey, alex witt. it's a whole new congress and a whole new day for reform in washington or is it? i'll be joined by several congressmen this afternoon and veteran lawmakers what next on the agenda including prospects for new immigration reform this month. and plus barney frank, is he headed back to washington? all the latest on his change of heart. you can catch me 2:00 to 5:00 eastern, up next, alex witt. >> yep, park it for craig melvin, thank you very much. next for the big three, can washington get its act together and save the nation from default? is the nation looking at another eleventh hour nail-biter? [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso.
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it's time for the "big three." government shutdown? nomination battle? and best week, worst week. let's bring in the "big three" panel for the day. susan dell persio, and morris reid, and harry bacon-reid. good to see you all. perry, you first, republican senator john cornyn was writing in an op-ed and said a partial government shutdown may be necessary to ensure long-term government stability. do you think it's a possibility and who has the most to lose? >> i think everybody has a lot to lose. if we have a government shutdown, those things are not great outcomes and i think we'll have another knockdown, drag-out fight to the end. i think president obama enters this with an advantage and the reason is because he's unified with his party is unified with
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him. in general you're not seeing the kind of aggressive opposition to president obama among democrats the way you are seeing john boehner essentially can't lead his caucus to do anything right now and it's hard to negotiate and really hard to lead a group that won't follow you. >> susan, republicans think they have the leverage here. do they? >> well, they do in one regard, yes, they have -- they have the checkbook. they have the debt ceiling. but they're playing a really dangerous game here. firms first of all, on the pr front, it doesn't look like they're being the party of fiscal responsibility when you say, all right, i'll default on our debt and that's a good solution. that absolutely makes no sense. but more importantly, that republicans have to realize if president obama doesn't come to the table, they are going to entering this alone. they are going to the dance floor by themselves and they will be held accountable for a government shutdown that will only cause much more problems for them and the country. >> so, then, does that give the president all the leverage? because he says no compromise? i mean, does he have the final
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hand in this debate? >> well, listen, the president doesn't want to overplay his hand here, he does have a leg up and he's been very focused the way he handles the last situation, what i call obama 2.0 is the way he'll handle this. but the one thing the president is a student of history. the republicans need to be a student of history and remember the last time the republicans shut down the government and newt gingrich, it was a disaster for the republican party with bill clinton. i think the president needs to be measured and understand he still has to get something done because his legacy will be based upon if he's going to turn this economy around and having the government shut down doesn't help that legacy long term. >> okay. can i just ask all three of you real quick whether you think it's going to happen, you can give me a yes, no, or maybe, real quick. go to you, top to bottom. susan first. >> i don't think it's going to happen. >> perry. not perry. morris? >> no. >> perry? >> no. >> you don't think's it's going to happen. oh, good, let's move on to the
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next topic, nomination battle. what are you hearing about chuck hagel possible nomination for defense secretary? what's the word where you are, perry, in washington? >> chuck hagel will have trouble getting confirmed. he has his problems. republicans don't like him because he criticized the iraq war, he criticized george w. bush, he and john mccain disagree on a lot of big foreign policy issues, and democrats don't like him either because on most foreign policy issues he's a pretty conservative republican. barack obama does like him and that's the only thing that really matters when you're talking about being nominated for a job like this. this will not be an easy confirmation pick because people in both parties don't like chuck hagel. >> morris, it's interesting, capitol hill sources have told chuck todd here from nbc that as many as ten democratic sno iic could vote no if hagels the nomin nominee, why would the president nominate someone with so much
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opposition from his own party? >> he has too much juice over his party at this point. the good news is by nominating chuck hagel it shows he a reaching across the aisle. it shows he is being partisan. and when you have the republicans come out against him the way they are, it only helps with his issues regarding the bipartisanship. >> so, morris, you think that's more important than nominating a democrat for the position? >> well, listen, i'm not a partisan, but for a position like this i'd rather have a democrat, but chuck hagel is a fine senator and he knows the issues, we're not getting someone that is not qualified for the position. but the fact is the president wants to show leadership and show some bipartisanship and this is the slot he's decided to go with. >> susan, we know three senate republicans have come out against a potential hagel nomination, he's a former gop senator so from his own ranks. do republicans oppose him because he may have crossed the aisle on the last election and supported the president over
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john mccain? is that their biggest beef with him? >> well, that could be it. and there also is his position on israel, which is really what's leading the charge against him right now. and there are other issues like gay rights that are leading the charge against him on the democratic side. this is a very tough battle for the president. he shouldn't be putting forward nominees without backing them up as they drop the name, because chuck hagel's been frankly hanging out and getting beat up from the left and the right and that's not what you do to your nominees if you want them to have a clear sail through the senate confirmation process. >> this is a fight that the president's prepared to take on. the fact is that the republicans want to take on our republican nominee for a role, that's something that frankly from a w. we can hold air caucus together. i'm not concerned with the democrats going sideways here. they don't like the fact that hagel was against the whole situation with cheney and a lot
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of other issues during the bush era that they did not like and they are trying to push him over the ledge now. >> with all of that being said, when it comes to presidential nominations, unless they find a reason why he's truly not qualified and the case with chuck hagel, he is qualified they can fight the president on his nominations. he should be allowed to put together his cabinet. >> i want to wait time for winners and losers, because he always comes up with the craziest ones. up next, that's what we'll do and we'll look at morris and the rest of them. the big three winners and losers. instead i got heartburn. [ horse neighs ] hold up partner. prilosec isn't for fast relief. try alka-seltzer. kills heartburn fast. yeehaw!
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house minority leader nancy pelosi is defending photoshop magic on the picture of the women on the house democratic caucus. they gathered on the steps of the capitol however four congresswomen didn't make it so it was taken like so. you see this photograph of the very same event that includes the four absent women.
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you see them there at the top. miss pelosi says it's an accurate historical record of who they are and the group could not wait for the others because it was so darn cold and they didn't have time to wait for them. >> now back to the big three, morris reid and perry bacon, jr. we'll go ladies first, susan. >> i think chris christie had the best week. he is gearing up for re-election in 2013 and by calling it what it was and calling out the house republicans for not passing the sandy funding he did a great job standing up for new jersey and telling people he's not going to tolerate any partisanship if it stands in the way of his state. >> okay. that's his best and then your worst. the worst is the house gop because of how they handle the same funding and plus a lot of their dysfunction right now. they have to stop letting the tail wag the dog in the party. >> okay. morris, yours? >> my winner is president obama
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and what i'm calling obama 2.0 and this is a much more activist president, sticking to his gun, no waffling and going to the american people and what he said is going over the head of washington, both republicans and democrats because democrats can sometimes be obstructive in the second term. in this 2.0 obama you will see a lot more skilled presidency in the second term. my loser was the economy. we've got -- we're moving in the right direction with housing and we had a great stock market and we went up over 13,000 and the republicans keep fighting the president on the economy because they realized that this president will go down in history, whether it's a good president or bad president based solely on the economy. so my loser this week was the economy because the republicans continued to fight over minor things that are obstruct issing us to moving this economy forward. >> perry, how about yours? best and worst. >> best was joe biden this week. we always make fun of him because he doesn't say the right thing all of the time and he
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makes gaffes and he's effective in the governing part of politics. he played a big role this week in the fiscal cliff deal and he's done so in the past, as well. loser, john boehner and not because of what john boehner does, but what his members do to h him. they disempower the speaker of the house usually a powerful job in washington. he had to basically say this week imf not going to negotiate with the president anymore and it's a troubling sign for the speaker of the house. >> okay. perry bacon, jr., susan del%io and a somewhat tame morris reid, come back next week. bring on the craziness. we want to have it. that's a wrap up of "weekends with alex witt." we'll see you tomorrow. up next, my friend craig melvin. i'm alex witt. have yourselves a great day.
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good saturday to you. i'm craig melvin. you are watching msnbc. the place for politics.
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right now the three white house cabinet positions that are about to be remade and why the timing of one could not be worst for the president. also, the two men who kept us off the so-called fiscal cliff and what it might mean for the men from kentucky, plus the one issue that will define the president's second term, will tobacco the same issue that allows the gop to redefine their brand? president obama spending his final hours in hawaii right now. tonight he will head to washington, d.c. and then work begins with a brand new congress. in his weekly radio address, president obama promised to do more for the economy. >> we still needed to put americans back to work while also putting the country in a path to pay down its debt. we can't afford more protracted show dunns and manufactured crises along the way. >> msnbc kristen welker continues the tough assignment
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in honolulu. he has a lot including the cabinet appointment next week, we understand. who might that be? >> according to multiple sources, president obama could announce his pick for secretary of defense as early as the start of next week and those familiar with the decision making process say that former nebraska senator chuck hagel is right now a top contender, however, white house officials stress that the president has not yet made his final decision. if he does pick hagel we could see a difficult confirmation process. he has come under criticism due to controversial comments he made several years ago including comments about israel. he has apologized for those comments. some people say the apology is acceptable and others say not so much so that could be difficult moving forward and remember, president obama just had a difficulty with one of his potential picks, susan rice, u.n. ambassador for secretary of state. she essentially withdrew her name from the process, the nominating